BY SELMA STRUS (NEE BACHOFFER)
A new era in education began on September 2, 1955 when the Iron River Centralized School opened its many doors for the first time. Gone forever from this area was the one room school housing students from grades one to eight or nine, with one teacher or supervisor in charge of the education of all grades. For some time, parents from Sandy Rapids to Lessard, realizing the importance of a high school education for their children, had been expressing the need for a rural high school in their area, where all children could have the opportunity of completing a grade twelve education while living at home. Many bright youngsters had to be content with a grade eight or nine education because funds were lacking to board them away from home to receive a high school education.
After two well attended general meetings in 1954 and with the active support of W.S. Scott, local trustee; J. Sylvestre, Superintendent of Schools for the Bonnyville School Division #46; and Mike Luciak, a divisional trustee; the Department of Education gave its approval for the construction of a new centralized school to be constructed in the area to house students from grades one to twelve. The centralization combined the schools of Jolly, Merton, Harold Lake, Bevin, Willow Trail, Forest Stream, Osborne Lake, Churchvelt, Wendel, Sandy Rapids, Balm Tree and Iron River.